In the beginning, motherhood felt as comfortable for me as getting my yearly pap smear. Not only did I not know what I was doing, but I often felt inadequate and struggled to adjust to my new role. But thanks to my mum friends, I made it through. I don't know what I'd do, or what kind of mother I would be, without them.
I met most of my mum friends in university. Having these friends for more than a decade has been such a blessing because they truly know how I operate. They know my strengths, my weaknesses, and exactly what to do to light up my life. And while I don't see them as often as I'd like, we still try to schedule dinner or a play date with our kids about once a month. But just because we can't hang out as often as we did before kids, that doesn't mean my mum friends aren't there for me on every level almost daily.
To me, the greatest part of having solid mum friends is that they are your teammates in crushing the biggest myth out there: that perfect mothers exist. Just the fact that we can spend hours bonding over how we've messed up in the motherhood business is enough. When you call them after school drop-off because you feel horrible for forgetting that it was "Dress Up as your Favourite Character Day" AND "Snack Day" for your 6 year old, they tell you about the time they volunteered to help in their child's class and completely forgot to show up. No "Oh, that really stinks" platitudes here. After our talks, I'm reminded that all mothers make mistakes, and I can practically feel my mummy guilt floating away.
My mum friends are my best resource — more reliable than even Google (yes, I said it). For me, when it came to things like sleep training my children, breastfeeding, or speech delays, it was my friends who I turned to, not the internet. When my second child struggled to sleep through the night and I was too tired to remember my own name, I waved the white flag and reached out to my mum friends. They reminded me that my baby would, in fact, sleep for several consecutive hours at some point. And they reassured me that it didn't matter that Suzy's daughter was snoozing all night at 3 months old; kids develop at their own pace, and my baby would get the hang of it. I got endless tips to try, both things that worked for their children and things that didn't and might work for mine. When I was desperately looking for a way out of my sleepless nightmare, it was simply nice to know that I wasn't alone and that I had friends I could count on to help me find my way back to bed . . . eventually.
And when things are just plain awful, you can count on your mum friends to rally around you. I'll never forget when both my son and daughter were struggling with pneumonia and my mother was admitted into the hospital due to the horrific side effects of her chemotherapy. Keeping everything together was impossible. But my mum friends cooked meals for me and my family, bought me the groceries I needed, and simply checked in to make sure I was doing OK. They called daily, asking about my family and making sure I was coping. They knew that no one else would think to check on how I was handling it all. Knowing that they were there whenever I needed to talk (and, honestly, I needed it often) was such a balm during this hard time. Without them, I'm sure I would have drowned in the stress and worry. But they made sure I was seen and heard, and I'll forever be grateful.
To put it simply: mum friends show up. And they show up during it all, especially the ugly. I'd be lost in motherhood without my mum friends. When I'm clueless, drowning in guilt, or struggling through the ups and downs of life, they make surviving motherhood easier. But because I have them, no matter what, I know I can take on anything.